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Biology: Primary and Secondary Sources

Primary Sources

Primary sources are information or literature about original research. These materials are provided or written by the original researchers or scientists who conducted the experiment.  

Examples of Primary Sources include: 

  • Journal articles of original research
  • Lab Notebook
  • Dissertations
  • Patents
  • Conference Papers 
  • Data sets 

Secondary Sources

Secondary sources analyze, evaluate, interpret and summarize information from primary resources. Typically the purpose of a secondary source is to give an overview of a topic.  

Examples of Secondary Sources include: 

  • Article Reviews
  • Meta-analyses
  • Textbooks

*hint review the methodology section of an article if you are trying to distinguish between primary and secondary.  

Research Timeline